To celebrate National Cat Day, which takes place on October 29th, we wanted to share 10 facts about your feline friends that you may not have known.
Just like humans can be right- or left-handed, cats can be left-pawed or right-pawed. Researchers at Queen's University Belfast conducted a study of 42 cats and found that they used one paw more than the other while performing a task. What was interesting is that for males, the left paw was more dominant and for females, it was the right paw.
It’s not that they prefer salty over sweet, it’s that they actually cannot taste sweet things. Due to a genetic deficiency, the taste buds that detect sugar have been removed from cats’ tongues. While this may seem like a nightmare to us sweet lovers, cats don’t mind. As obligate carnivores, they prefer the taste of meat over anything else.
The average house cat can jump a vertical height of five feet or more without a running start, which equals about seven times their own height. If you’ve ever seen your cat jump from the floor to the counter without unbelievable ease, this fact will likely not surprise you, but it’s still very impressive!
Calico’s have the most beautiful mix of black, white, and orange fur. What is interesting is that this coloring is directly related to the X chromosome – for a cat to have this distractive tri-color coat, it needs to have two X chromosomes. This means that the vast majority of cats will be female, but there are instances of male calicos that have an extra X chromosome (XXY), giving them the required double X.
You might be reading this and thinking to yourself, how on earth is a cat like an umbrella, but just bear with us. When a cat is jumping from a high distance, they tuck their body into the rounded shape of an umbrella. By doing so, they’re able to stay upright and land on their feet – this is called the cat righting reflex. It begins to appear around 3-4 weeks of age and they’ve mastered it around 6-7 weeks.
For whatever reason, cat fur is prone to become ‘charged’ when you stroke it. So much so, in fact, that you can see little sparks when you pet them in the dark. This is also the reason why their backs begin to twitch and they may randomly attack you after you’ve been petting them for an extended length of time – you’re giving them continuous little shocks!
As a human, we know one of the more dangerous things you can do is drink seawater, but cats don’t have this same concern. Due to the strength and efficiency of their kidneys, cats are actually able to filter out the salt from saltwater. This means that they can stay hydrated, even if they only have access to saltwater.
Just like every human as a unique fingerprint, every cat as a unique nose print. The bumps and ridges that make up a cat nose are similar to those that make up a fingerprint and can be used for identification.
When a cat purrs, it is done at a frequency of between 25 and 150 Hertz. What’s important about this range is that it falls within the frequency at which muscles and bones best grow and repair themselves. Based on this, it has been hypothesized that purring has evolved from what was once a survival technique.
One way cats communicate with each other is through touching noses. By doing this, they can smell all of the different scents the other cat has encountered and determine if the cat is familiar to them. It’s not uncommon for a cat to do the same thing to another human when they meet, so don’t be afraid to hold out your finger or hand for them to sniff – they’re simply just extending a friendly hello!
Have you own fun feline fact to share? We’d love to read them in the comments!